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The financial Fair Play that left Messi out of Barcelona

Pablo Bruera, lawyer

- Photo: Twitter @Espana_Goleador


Financial fair play seeks to introduce greater discipline and rationality into the finances of football clubs.


Beyond the strict legal, financial and infrastructure regulations, the truth is that many European clubs show worrying negative numbers.


The pandemic played an additional role in the precipitous drop in the transfer of players and their values.


Financial fair play was introduced into club licensing requirements in 2011. Since then, six clubs have been denied access to UEFA competitions for failing to pay their players or for failing to pay transfers to other clubs, and one of them has been excluded from UEFA competitions for failing to meet breakeven requirements.


The sanction to Manchester City


Financial fair play has already generated sanctions in several clubs. The most important case was with Manchester City, which in 2020 UEFA sanctioned for having exceeded the financial limit between 2012 and 2016 with a fine of 30 million euros and the club was removed from European competitions for two years. Manchester City took this case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and succeeded in having the penalty lifted and the fine significantly reduced.


Barcelona's debts that prevent his new hire


The risk rating agency Fitch gave a negative triple B to the club, which shows that the economic situation is complex.


Despite this, on Thursday of last week Barsa and Messi lawyers reached an agreement to sign the contract renewal.


But to everyone's surprise, the club president informed the player's father that a negotiation would be impossible.


It is not enough for Messi to decide to lower 50% of his salary.


In the middle of this negotiation, the club also decided to reject the CVC funds, which was a sum of more than 1000 million euros that came to the league to strengthen their clubs.


According to the president of the FCB, losses were estimated at around 200 million, which will end up being 487 million euros.


The financial management of the club has made the salary bill represent 110% of income. "We do not have a salary margin, La Liga regulations go through a financial fair play that sets limitations," Laporta explained.


With Messi out of the club, the percentage of the salary bill with respect to the budget drops from 110% to 95%.


However, part of the club's leadership doubts, in reality, that there was a will to negotiate for Messi since many things could have been done that were not done.

Some of the obligatory questions that arise are:


How will FCB keep the annual 180 million euros from its sponsors, knowing that there is a Messi clause in their contracts?


Who will replace Messi in the sale of shirts, since he sold 8 out of 10?


How will the club's social networks continue, Messi has 245 million followers on Instagram, more than twice as many as Barsa has?


The first numbers indicate that the Argentine player's departure could cost the club around 137 million euros in brand value (less commercial income, T-shirt sales, international events, etc.)

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